Practicing yoga is a practice of focus. Attending to your breath on the yoga mat brings you to the present moment. Thoughts about laundry piling up and birthday parties to plan disappear. Relaxation of body and calmness of mind follow in the wake of mindful breathing. The yoga practice teaches you how to breathe mindfully on the yoga mat. The fruit of the practice is taking that mindfulness of breathing off the mat and into all of our activities. At first, mindful breathing off the mat is a conscious practice, just as it is on the yoga mat. With continual and consistent practice, it becomes habitual and unconscious, just as it does on the yoga mat. Relaxation and calm seep into more and more of all of your daily activities as the habit becomes ingrained. With a firmly established habit of mindful breathing, the relaxation and calmness which often accompanies a yoga practice can also serve as the foundation for a calm and relaxed life. It all starts with focus, bringing the mind to the breath. Focusing the mind, or one-pointed concentration, in yoga is called “dharana”, and is one of the eight limbs of classical yoga. In asana practice, it is also practiced with the gaze. A steady gaze in yoga is called “drishti”. Dharana can also be practiced with the breath as the object of attention, or with a tight hamstring, or with a concept — like gratitude or generosity. There is a long tradition of practicing dharana by using a candle as the object of concentration. We do this at the Dhira Yoga Center the last Friday of every month with “Candlelight Flow”, a yoga asana practice followed by a 15 minute one-pointed concentration on a candle. It’s a key part of the practice of classical yoga. With practice, it can serve as the foundation of a steady and happy life, even when doing the laundry and planning birthday parties! Come join us tomorrow night for Candlelight Flow at 6pm.
Sun salutations literally salute the sun,
Vayu, the God of the Wind, merges with your own prana, or life force
Cool breezes caress the cheeks in corpse pose
Standing on your head magically unites heaven and earth
Your heart reaches towards the infinite
You are one with all
Free Outdoor Yoga
Wednesday nights, July 10, 17, 24 and 31
6:00 to 7:15 pm
Stanley Park, The Arboretum, by the Fountain
($5 Donation to Stanley Park graciously welcomed)
Sign up online. Bring your own mat or towel
(In case of inclement weather, a free class will be offered at Dhira Yoga Center)
Be content with following each breath in your practice. There is no finished pose to strive for. If you think you arrived, you lose the jewel in the lotus, a much more splendid treasure hidden in each breath!
If you are scared to attempt upside down poses you have not done since you were little or feel unsteady when you attempt a headstand, then remember that “Dhira” means courage, and that the Dhira Yoga Center has just the right medicine for you — an Inversions Workshop: “Change Your Perspective” with Michael on Sunday, April 28, 2013 from 1:30 – 3:30 pm. We will break down these poses to align your body to allow you to flow into these inversions easily.
So, if you haven’t done a handstand since you were a kid, it’s time to rediscover the thrill. We will give you tools, techniques, variations and proper alignment to advance your practice with inversions. We will cover shoulder stand, handstand, headstand and forearm stand among others.
Going upside down is a great way to energize your body, build both confidence as well as humility. Great for increasing immunity to prevent diseases, improve circulation and get rid of headaches. Inversions are also a great reminder that our asana practice is also a time to be playful and light-hearted.
So don’t miss the thrill of going upside down. Come put your heart above your head and change your perspective! Perfect for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike. Lots of fun! Turn frowns into smiles by going upside down!
Fridays 5:30 – 6:45 pm, Dhira Flow with Michael
Sundays’ New Schedule, starting April 7, is
10:00 am – 11:30 am Foundation Flow with Michael
4:00 pm – 5:15 pm Gentle/Restorative with Lisa
5:30 pm – 6:45 pm Dhira Flow with Michael
Meditation will be on Mondays only from 11:00 am -11:30.
Enlightened lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays is cancelled.
This Friday, Dhira offers its first Candlelight Flow Class with Rebecca! If you are so ready to relax and unwind from the work week, stop on the way home Friday night, join us for a candlelit, gentle, flow class. In our cozy, candlelit studio, this tranquil class will warm, restore and rejuvenate your heart, mind and body. Class ends with a guided meditation. Don’t miss Rebecca’s 5:45 pm Candlelight Flow. This class meets only on the last Friday of every month. Don’t miss it! All levels. 75 minutes.
Dhira Yoga Center has six spaces left in their Beginner’s Workshop. This six week workshop is designed to be an enjoyable introduction to yoga. These intimate group experiences offer a safe and inspiring setting to begin your yoga journey. You will leave the workshop understanding basic yoga techniques, foundation poses, breathing exercises, a brief introduction to the history and philosophy of yoga and an introduction to meditation. The workshop will provide the tools to help you feel confident in our scheduled classes. Begins Saturday, February 16 and runs for six consecutive Saturdays from 1:00 -2:00 pm. Sign up now to reserve your spot!
Grand Opening Weekend Celebration is only 10 days away and its going to be fun!
On Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3, Dhira offers three free classes each day. Please join us for this most auspicious weekend, as we celebrate the birth of a beautiful new home for an already blossoming yoga community!
Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of class to familiarize yourself with our center and to stake out a spot for your yoga mat (or one of ours, if you don’t have one).
Assure a spot for you and a mat in any of these free classes by reserving your space online –>
Dhira Yoga’s teachers, over the course of Grand Opening Weekend, will be on deck to meet, greet and share in the excitement.
Also, don’t miss out on our “GrandOpening” promotion discount on all purchases made before February 4, the end of Grand Opening Weekend. You can take advantage of this right now online by applying the promotion code “GrandOpening” when you “Checkout”.
Check out our brand new Facebook page while your at it!
On February 2 and 3, we begin our quest to build together a nurturing, flourishing, happy and healthy community dedicated to compassion, and cultivating peace, both in ourselves and in the world. And, to having a lot of fun in the process! Be there at the birth of Dhira Yoga!
Oh, and don’t forget that starting Monday, February 4, our regular class schedule with over 20 classes a week, plus meditation and healing arts appointments begins! Om Shanti!
The Dhira Yoga Center invites you to “Go Inside” the Dhira Yoga Center our Grand Opening Weekend. We have three free yoga classes on Saturday, February 2 and three more on Sunday, February 3. Come celebrate with us the arrival of a very good looking baby, and a special place of peace, health and happiness for all. You can sign up online to reserve a spot. We look forward to meeting you, sharing in the practice and having some fun! Namaste.
“Go Inside” the yoga teacher always says. “But I thought I was inside!” So, what do yoga teachers mean when they urge their students to “go inside”?
Pantanjali, the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, Raja (or Classical) Yoga’s primary text, begins with laying the foundation of the eight limbed path, that is, he begins with the yamas (how we ought to interact with others) and niyamas (personal disciplines). Svadhyaya is one of the niyamas. Sva means “self” and adhyaya means “education of.” Svadhyaya then is the study of the self and is also often interpreted to include the education of the self through the study of yoga texts. This practice, studying one’s self, is common to many traditions outside of yoga as well. Socrates urged the same practice as reflected in his famous aphorisms — “Know thyself” and “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
When we practice the third limb of Pantanjali’s eight limbed path, the asanas (yoga poses), our focus should be internal, studying the breath, studying the mind, studying the body, studying the self. A yoga teacher telling you to “Go inside” is urging you to practice svadhyaya. This internal discipline is akin to practicing the fifth limb of Pantanjali’s eight fold path, pratyahara, or withdrawal of the senses. When our focus is turned away from our sense experience, away from what our eyes and ears are distracting us with (and away from, dare I say, our own chattiness), then we have the opportunity to study the self. When practicing asana, we should strive to turn away from the external world towards the internal — our breath, body and mind — this is practicing pratyahara , and studying the self — svadhyaya. In this regard, it is helpful, when practicing asanas, to close your eyes from time to time while holding a pose.
Vinyasa yoga, what is practiced at Dhira Yoga, is often described as “moving meditation”. The last three limbs of Pantanjali’s exposition of yoga are all internal practices – Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (awakening to bliss when the ego disappears). In our practice of svadhyaya, the aim is to study the self, to gain self-knowledge. Self-study does not mean to judge nor to “fix” ourselves, or our thoughts or our emotions. It is to become aware of them. Pema Chodron captures this idea so eloquently in the following passage:
“When people start to meditate or work with any type of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. It’s a bit like saying, “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.” “If I could only get a nicer house, I’d be a better person.” “If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.” . . . But loving-kindness “maitri” toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.”
– Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness.
So, go inside, be curious about what you may find, and don’t try to fix anything. Don’t try to be the “perfect” meditator. Practice loving kindness towards yourself, be accepting. Study yourself. Don’t judge. Don’t make it “right”. Just go inside. See you inside the center.